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ACLU of Florida Addresses Free Speech Issues Created by St. Petersburg Event Ordinance

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:01 AM
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ACLU of Florida Addresses Free Speech Issues Created by St. Petersburg Event Ordinance
ACLU Calls Free Speech Zones and Criminalization of Speech Unconstitutional; Urges Changes Before 'St. Pete Pride' on June 30

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today sent a letter to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and Police Chief Charles "Chuck" Harmon calling for changes to the City's controversial ordinance regarding "free speech zones" and event permit enforcement. The Ordinance allows the City to create prior restraints of speech on an event-by-event basis, with virtually no predictable limits. It also criminalizes certain free speech behavior around public events, while simultaneously limiting the rights of event organizers to promote their own messages by imposing forced "free speech zones" for opponents. The City also authorizes the police to enforce breaches of permits. The penalty: Arrest.

The City debuted its new "signing statement" power by limiting free speech rights of not only the opponents of this upcoming weekend's St. Pete Pride events, but also of the organizers themselves. As a condition of granting the permit, the City required the organizers to dedicate a special area to allow opposition to Pride's message of tolerance and equality.

The ACLU called the City's attention to a Supreme Court ruling that allowed the organizers of a St. Patrick's Day parade to ban gay groups from marching in the parade based on the First Amendment rights of the parade organizers to control the message of the event. Likewise, said the ACLU, events such as this weekend's PRIDE parade and street festival are, in and of themselves, an act of free speech.

"Forcing event organizers to allow contrary messages within the event area violates the First Amendment," said Becky Steele, Director of the ACLU of Florida's West Central Office.


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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:12 AM
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1. This doesn't surprise me. This is the same criminal in office who
made it illegal to be homeless and sent his goon squad (police force) to literally slash the homeless tent city. In some cases there were still people inside the tents. Seriously, who would slash a homeless person's tent? I mean they have so much to begin with.

Anyway... he has further political ambitions. I believe he will at some poing be trying to get the senator seat (perhaps from Nelson) or Governorship. Watch out for this man. He thinks just like Bushy. He loves power.
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